How different is Luta Livre from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Does it have the same submissions as BJJ? Are the rules in competitive tournaments also the same as BJJ?

2 Answers 2


To my knowledge, Luta Livre and BJJ are practically the same, the only difference is that in Luta Livre you don't wear a Gi.

Both systems use belts for graduations, although in Luta Livre you don't wear it during fights.

Due to not having a Gi in Luta Livre, it is understood that some techniques are slightly adjusted to fit the circumstances.

Some more Detail:

Luta Livre as we know it today emanated from Brazilian judo and wrestling.It was founded in the mid 20th century by Euclydes Hatem, who went by the name Tatu. Luta Livre truly burst into Brazilian social consciousness when the first of the major Brazilian Jiu Jitsu vs. Luta Livre encounters happened in the 1940's, with Hatem defeating George Gracie. Later in the 1970's, the art was influenced by Tatu's students Fausto and Carlos Brunocilla, who graduated several experts. Perhaps even more so, the art was later positively impacted by Roberto Leitao, a wrestling and judo practitioner


Both judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are similar in many ways. This is mainly because both emanate from the ancient Japanese art of jujutsu or jujitsu in some fashion. Judo was in essence formulated by Dr. Jigoro Kano (sometimes written at Jigori). Kano's art was formulated with the idea of it being practiced as a sport; hence, some of the more dangerous moves of jujutsu were taken out (killing moves, etc.):


  • Great!! So it's like BJJ in no gi. Do they have different submissions? Or how about naming them? E.g: If they also have the arm bar, do they call it 'arm bar' or something else? What made me interested is this (bjjheroes.com/bjj-culture/jiu-jitsu-vs-luta-livre) article where it mentions how BJJ had conflicts with Luta Livre and how they became rivals with each other. Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 6:02
  • 2
    Im no practicionaer of luta nor BJJ but as both have same roots - jiujitsu in brasil, I would think they use the same names. I have heard about the conflict but think that it is just the same Story like the different Kung Fu styles in China challenging each other which one is better... for fame, Marketing whatever ...
    – mitro
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 6:17
  • 2
    BJJHeroes disagrees: luta livre has roots in catch wrestling, not Japanese jiujitsu. Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 9:50
  • 1
    I disagree on that, I edited the answer so you can see more details. The roots are from judo and so called catch wrestling (a european mixture of multiple grappling arts: rish collar-and-elbow wrestling, Pehlwani wrestling (modern Indian), Iran's Varzesh-e Pahlavani wrestling, and, of course, the grand daddy of many, the ancient Greeks' wrestling styles, all had a hand in the catch wrestling style that caught on in America right after the Civil War... and Judos roots are in Japanese jujutsu !
    – mitro
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 13:43
  • 1
    Brazilian here, with friends fanatic for Luta Livre. As far as they have told me, Luta Livre (freestyle fighting) is just the name of a Catch Wrestling team. Luta Livre Esportiva (sports freestyle fighting) is an catch wrestling federation. Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 19:57

Both are grappling fights. Jiu jitsu can be splitted in two divisions. Gi and NOGi. Luta livre (some times called Submission) is just NOGi. This is a vantage for Luta Livre (they focus in just one style).

The techniques are the same. But Jiu Jitsu nowadays is much more focusing in competition/sport and in my opinion Jiu Jitsu is losing the fight idea. Nowadays jiu jitsu have a lot of rules that helps the competitor to win a fight without a submission. Some of the submission are banned from Jiu Jitsu because could injure. But at same time this rules will helping BJJ to faster grow.

Bjj banned cervical lock and Heel hooks at all to all belts and divisions.

When I started Jiu Jitsu I used to go to Luta Livre Competitions. In that time the Luta livre competition was in two categories of "Belt", debut and experienced. The Luta Livre accept the White/Blue/Purple compete in debut categories. Brown and Black in experienced category.

To a bjj competitor compete in a NoGi fight is much more easy than a Luta Livre Competitor compete in a Gi fight. The BJJ figter will miss some os the controls and submission(because they use the Gi)

Complementary Information.

Desafio Jiu Jitsu vs. Luta Livre, 1991 The Jiu Jitsu vs Luta Livre

challenge generated interest from a major TV company (Rede Globo) due to the influence the Gracie’s held in some media circuits. The TV company was lured into the idea by Robson Gracie (once again the organizer) who mentioned that the event would be under grappling rules, the rules were later changed to no holds barred, but the support of the Rede Globo remained. Having a national audience lifted the stakes of the competition even higher, and the card was picked.

  • Wallid Ismail (jiu jitsu representative) vs Eugênio Tadeu (luta livre representative)
  • Amaury Bitetti (jiu jitsu representative) vs Marco Ruas (luta livre representative)
  • Fábio Gurgel (jiu jitsu representative) vs Denílson Maia (luta livre representative)
  • Marcelo Behring (jiu jitsu representative) vs Hugo Duarte (luta livre representative)
  • Murilo Bustamante (jiu jitsu representative) vs Marcelo Mendes (luta livre representative)

With Marco Ruas missing the fight and Behring getting injured in training, the card moved on with just 3 fights. All fights were won by the Jiu Jitsu side:

Wallid Ismail defeated Tadeu: Tadeu did not return to the ring after the two fighters fell outside Fábio Gurgel defeated Denílson Maia: referee stoppage Murilo Bustamante defeated Marcelo Mendes: after a complete dominance of Bustamante, Mendes refused to return to the ring after he fell out. The event was a major boost to jiu jitsu’s popularity whose gyms had a massive influx of students shortly after the challenge. The bad atmosphere between the two grapping rivals died down for a bit after the event, however it did not disappear.

Source Bjj Heroes

  • 2
    "Bjj banned...ankle lock[s] at all to all belts and divisions." — this is not true. Heel hooks, one specific kind of ankle/leg lock, are banned at all belts and divisions. Straight ankle locks are legal at all adult belt levels and toe holds are still legal for some divisions. Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 4:58
  • Sorry @DaveLiepmann, my bad. I fixed.
    – AFetter
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 5:01
  • Cool. What are luta livre competition rules—is it simply no time limit submission only? Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 6:05
  • 2
    This was years ago. That time was same rules of BJJ for points and time. No rules for submission. It means all submission are allowed. A little less restricted than ADCC adcombat.com/adcc-rules-and-regulations
    – AFetter
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 12:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.